blue bits. red rocks.

jesus dojo

Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies was understandably shocking to his original audience—just as it is to us today. Jesus expected much, which is why, after telling his audience to love their enemies he added that if we only love those who love us and do good those who do good to us, we’re doing nothing more than what everyone naturally does (Luke 6:32-33). But his followers are to be set apart by the radically different way of love. The distinct mark of the reign of God is that God’s people love and do good to people who don’t love them and don’t treat them well—indeed, to people who hate them, mistreat them, and even threaten them and their loved ones. The Distinctive Mark of Jesus Followers

[M]any people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We believe in violence. We trust in violence. We trust in violence not because we are bad people, but because we love. Because we love, we want to have our loved ones protected and safe, and we believe that violence is the way to do this. We trust in violence because we want justice, and want to end the injustice, oppression, and suffering we see in the world. Again, we believe that violence is the only way to do this. Violence is how we believe we can bring about peace in the world. That’s why we Americans have put our faith in violence. That’s why we struggle so much with what Jesus says about loving our enemies, just like we struggle with what he says about giving all our money to the poor. The big elephant in the room here is that we just don’t agree with Jesus. We think it would be bad to do these things. The New Testament and Violence: Part 1

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Religious sin is the most destructive kind of sickness, for it masquerades as it feeds off the illusion of health. Far from being open to a cure, this kind of sickness thrives on the illusion that it is the epitome of health. By its very nature, it resist soft correction. Indeed, because it gets life from the rightness of it’s beliefs and behavior rather than from love, the religious version of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil tends to construe all compassion, accommodation, and unconditional acceptance as compromise. People afflicted with religious sin thus tend to disdain compassionate love, even if it is extended toward them. Hence, Jesus’ approach to leaders who fed off this illusion could not be to gently offer them a cure. Rather, for their sake and the sake of those who blindly followed them, he had to publicly expose their sickness. Greg Boyd

It is striking that in the Gospels Jesus nowhere tells his followers that they should be more obedient than they are. Even Matthew’s gospel, which has a tendency to portray Jesus as an obedient Jew, does not simply assume that all commands in the Jewish Scriptures are to be followed in a legalistic manner. Michael Hardin

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Probably Francis’s entire attitude toward enemies, and therefore toward Islam, is best summarized in chapter twenty-two of his first Rule, which some scholars now think was his closing address to the chapter of friars before he left for Egypt, since he thought he would probably never return. He may have thought it would be his final testament to them. It surely sums up his own attitude, which frankly is at a very high level of non-dual consciousness. And, as with Jesus himself, most of us either-or thinkers might just glaze over this quote in disbelief, doubting that anyone could really say it and mean it: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in whose footsteps we must follow, called the man who betrayed him his friend, and gave himself up of his own accord to his executioners. Therefore, our friends are those who for no reason cause us trouble and suffering, shame or injury, pain or torture, even martyrdom or death. It is these we must love, and love very much, because they give us eternal life. Richard Rohr

What would the world be like if Christians actually believed in a humble God? If following a God of poverty and humility led them to abandon their opinions, prejudices, and judgments so they could be more open to love others where they are, like God? Francis went about the world following the footprints of Christ, not so he could look like Christ, but because they were the footprints of divine humility. He discovered that God descends in love to meet us where we are and he found God in the most unexpected forms: the disfigured flesh of a leper, the complaints of a brother, the radiance of the sun, in short, the cloister of the universe. The wisdom of Francis makes us realize that God loves us in our incomplete humanity even though we are always running away trying to rid ourselves of defects, wounds and brokenness. If we could only see that God is there in the cracks of our splintered human lives we would already be healed. Ilia Delio

We completely miss the revolution Jesus leads from the get-go because all our faith is in the kind of battles we wage. Love of enemies is not Jesus telling us we should passively endure our enemies; it’s his strategy to defeat them. The cross is not how evil defeats Jesus. The way of the cross is how Jesus defeats them. Jason Micheli

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When I think of the spiritual strength we cultivate with God and others through prayer, I think of the image of the mighty sequoia tree. One might think that the roots of this giant tree reach deep into the ground to anchor it. But in reality the roots of this tree are relatively shallow. It is said that this tree gathers the strength it needs to soar high above other trees by stretching its roots far and wide. Sometimes the roots spread out to encompass an entire acre. Along the way, the roots of one sequoia find the roots of another. These roots wrap around each other, connecting one tree to the next. And the next. And the next, until the entire forest of sequoias joins together in an interwoven system of support buried beneath the surface. When strong winds blow and storms seek to topple them, it is the strength of these interconnected roots that holds the trees upright. The Spirituality of Nonviolence

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Today the world is on the brink of ruin because the Church refuses to be the Church, because we Christians have been deceiving ourselves and the non-Christian world about the truth of Christ. There is no way to follow Christ, to love as Christ loved, and simultaneously to kill other people. It is a lie to say that the spirit that moves the trigger of a flamethrower is the Holy Spirit. It is a lie to say that learning to kill is learning to be Christ-like. It is a lie to say that learning to drive a bayonet into the heart of another is motivated from having put on the mind of Christ. Militarized Christianity is a lie. It is radically out of conformity with the teaching, life, and spirit of Jesus. The Chaplain who Blessed the Hiroshima Bombers, Repents

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